SC notice to Lalu’s son, Shahabuddin for allegedly sheltering murder accused

New Delhi, Sep 23 (IANS) The Supreme Court on Friday issued notice to Bihar Health Minister Tej Pratap Yadav and criminal-turned-politician Mohammad Shahabuddin as to why an FIR cannot be filed against them for allegedly sheltering an accused in journalist Rajdeo Ranjan’s murder.

Justice Dipak Misra and Justice C. Nagappan sought a response from Yadav — the son of Rashtriya Janata Dal leader Lalu Prasad — on a petition by the journalist’s widow Asha Ranjan who sought a first information report against the two men.

On her plea for the transfer of the murder case trial from Bihar to Delhi, the bench issued notice to the Bihar government for its response.

Asha had said that if the investigation and trial in the case took place in Siwan district, the accused will terrorise the witnesses and she would not get justice.

The apex court also directed the Siwan Superintendent of Police to provide police protection to the petitioner and her family. By this, the court said: “A lady in distress shall feel protected.”

Petitioner Asha had said that two main culprits in her husband’s murder — Mohammad Kaif and Mohammad Javed — were allegedly seen in the company of Tej Pratap and Shahabuddin.

A photograph in which Kaif was allegedly standing besides Tej Pratap had gone viral on social media last week. Earlier, Kaif was seen in photographs and videos standing beside Shahabuddin after his release from Bhagalpur jail on September 10.

The court referred to the murder of Rajdeo Ranjan (on May 13) and subsequent developments in Siwan district and said Asha Ranjan was living in a “state of continuous fear”.

Referring to the saying that courage is the mother of all virtues and a man with courage can always sustain his or her dignity, the bench said: “But sometimes, situations are created by certain powerful protagonists which instil fear in the mind of a citizen and that fear has the potentiality to usher in atrophy to the sense of dignity.”

Noting the submission by her lawyer Kislay Panday that the Central Bureau of Investigation had not commenced a probe in the murder case, the court said “We direct that the CBI may proceed with the investigation but not finalise it and shall file a status report before this court on October 17.

The petitioner had also sought compensation from the state government.

–IANS

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